The Great Aspen Fiasco- Explained

Okay, I’m making this post to clear up a few things that happened today.

First off, I’ve been hearing discussion about what happened in Aspen today.

For those of you who were denied access, there’s a good reason for that. Aspen was currently backlogged with heavy traffic, as you will see in the picture below.

I understand that some of you may have felt unfairness in regards to Tyler and Matt being cleared for landing, but that was purely coincidental. Heck, I didn’t even know it was them until they were five or six miles out from landing.

The point remains- I only cleared them in due to an opening during the peak times of takeoff. As Tyler was cleared to land- the airport started peaking again, forcing me to deny everyone else. The same happened with Matt- traffic started exploding shortly after he landed back in Aspen.

Also, you guys need to understand that Aspen’s runway requires back-taxi in order to takeoff from its current position. That back-taxi isn’t like London City, where you can have three or four planes cruise down there at the same time. Everyone has to go one at a time… and it doesn’t help that a lot of people were back-taxiing way too slowly.

If you were denied access, you could have continued circling the airport (some of you may have noticed that I had people enter the pattern for landing once I saw an opening on the ground). I do commend that a lot of you did indeed circle around or create your own holding patterns, which I commend you for. If someone was cleared in after a little while, it’s usually because they were the closest to the ILS zone, after I was able to get enough departures off the ground.

I LITERALLY had 40-50 planes combined on both frequencies at peak times, and I was controlling for four hours straight. Please understand that everything was swamped on both sides. If I couldn’t manage to slip you into landing, then please don’t hold it against anybody. We can’t always get the exact way we want… especially with the kind of capacity that Aspen has.

Regarding Aspen, the airport only does 20 flights a day, and that amount of flights was QUADRUPLED in less than an hour… continuing every hour for four hours straight.

To regard another thing, even though Aspen uses opposite ends of the runway for arrivals and departures, the traffic volume was so ridiculous that everything had to flow through one runway- 15.

I also want to address an issue. Too many of you were coming in too hot. Even though the airport is barely below the 10,000-feet level, it doesn’t give you the excuse to come throttling in at 200-300 knots, which was seriously crazy. I can’t even count how many times that “maintain slowest practical speed” was used. Please use common sense when going down for landing!

The fact that a lot of you were barreling in was difficult, especially regarding the state of the departures. I can’t get departures out if you’re coming in too fast to give them time to takeoff! Especially… with 20 planes all wanting to land, most of which were really overspeeding it.

I can keep going on and on about why I had to do what I did today, but I think that I’ve written long enough. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message me or deliver a question below.
Thanks for your time! Happy flying!

-Stik (Advanced server- Junior controller)

Enclosed picture: One of the peak times during the airport- That’s just the traffic at the top of the picture. There’s five or six more cropped out from the bottom- bringing it closer to 25 on the ground.


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Nice job controlling man! Keep up the good work.


You have no idea how much I realized that during the peak times. This is really badly needed, or at least a command with more clarification.

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Thanks, man. Keep working hard, and you’ll get bumped up there soon!

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Are they taking off directly towards the mountains and what server was it on

Time for holding patterns and holding stacks!

“FDS007, Aspen is not accepting incoming aircrafts at this time due to heavy traffic. You are cleared direct to the SNOW VOR. Maintain 6,000 ft. Hold southwest of the 230º Radial. Expect further clearance at 2150.”


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Yeah I bet. It would have to be simplified a lot. It’s not so easy to understand, especially for new fliers.

this is interesting…but the format would have to be greatly simplified

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how holding patterns work myself. I just found some examples online and combined/modified them into that ^^.

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Is. Aspen a class Charlie strip? Reminds of the time I controlled at KNUC with like 50-60 planes between airspace and ground and none of them listened!

the holding entries is kinda tricky…they have three holding entries…parallel,direct,teardrop…haven’t quite studied them…but i guess i need to…lol

Yeah the problem is you’d have to teach that to all pilots that fly on the advanced and playground server. I believe there are also different types of holding pattern entries, different ways to exit maybe? I don’t know


Why hasn’t anyone mentioned that you don’t take off from 15?


Look at my post above. I explain that scenario.

The reality of the matter is that the amount of traffic coming in didn’t warrant the use of both ends of the runway, which would have been a REALLY bad idea.

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I was there, I thought you did a good job. You can only handle that much traffic at a time with that configuration. Not a problem at all.